Talk:Territories of the United States

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Removal of "Associated States" section[edit]

I removed the section listing "associated states" because that misstates the status of the Compact of Free Association nations. Though initially the rest of the world (especially the Communist bloc) treated them as part of the U.S., they are in fact sovereign nations, and after the Cold War ended they were all admitted to the UN as independent nations. (Palau gained its status later than the others due to nuclear weapons issues with the U.S.) Therefore, they should no longer be treated as "territories" of the U.S. However, I retained links to their articles, as well as to the "Compact of Free Association" article (instead of the "associated state" article, which is more about the concept), as they were part of the historic Trust Territory of the Pacific. --RBBrittain 02:44, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

The Associated States may be members of the UN, but so are other territories that are not independent. The association means that they are not sovereign, though they are also not part of the USA. (talk) 07:05, 5 September 2017 (UTC)


Why is the expression "sub-national administrative divisions directly overseen by the United States federal government" used? This reads like a euphemism for colony. (talk) 07:02, 5 September 2017 (UTC)


Whoever keeps reverting the article, why do you keep deleting the statistics table and photo galleries? There is no reason to delete these sections. Also, having the territory tables grouped by whether they are inhabited/uninhabited (as is done in the List of U.S. states and territories article) is less confusing than having them grouped by whether they are organized and/or incorporated (which requires 4 sections rather than 2). LumaP15 (talk) 23:34, 14 January 2018 (UTC)

"Palmyra Atoll" is the wrong name for the federal territory[edit]

All the references to the territory in the article use the wrong name (Feb. 15, 2018). The legal name is "United States Territory of Palmyra Island", not "Palmyra Atoll". See the subsection about this in the article Palmyra Atoll and its legal references. A National Wildlife Refuge inside the federal territory is named the "Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge", administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service. This is not the official name of the federal territory (the actual government of which is also the Fish and Wildlife Service, but by different federal statutes assigning the government of "Palmyra Island" to the president in 1959-1960, a presidential Executive Order in 1961 assigning it to the Secretary of the Interior, and a 2001 Secretary of the Interior's Order that transferred the government authority under the Executive Order from the Office of Insular Affairs to the Fish and Wildlife Service.

The WP article name "Palmyra Atoll" may refer generally to the place, not to the formal legal government entity (the federal territory).

Somebody should correct the misreferences to "Palmyra Atoll" as the territory name, in the main article here. (talk) 00:27, 16 February 2018 (UTC)

Claimed/disputed territories[edit]

The ownership of a number of territories are disputed by other countries. Some of them are not actually under US control or administration. I think this article needs a section properly explaining the situation of the affected territories, to expand on the "passing mentions" in a few places scattered throughout the article. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 15:49, 1 March 2018 (UTC)

The listing of the uninhabited territories already mentions relevant disputes. But these territories a a tiny aspect of the topic compared with the currently inhabited territories and historic territories that were developed into states, or ceded. TFD (talk) 00:30, 2 March 2018 (UTC)

Disputed territory Sikaiana[edit]

An editor keeps blanking a cited section on Sikaiana. Outback the koala (talk) 20:36, 27 April 2018 (UTC)

That's because most of the claims are either original research, or synthesis based on what the sources do say. Sikaiana isn't considered part of the state of Hawaii by the US government or Hawaiian government, nor is it considered a territory of the United States by the Federal government. The claims in the section that "The issue for Sikaiana has not been litigated, but if so, then Sikaiana would be an incorporated territory of the United States of America if it is not a legal part of the State of Hawaii" is pure speculation and Original Research. The claim that "The United States is not known to have pressed its legal claim, but under the Constitution it cannot cede an incorporated territory (or a U.S. state) to another power" is Synthesis, as the editor is applying something to Sikaiana that is not found in the citation.
In most cases, disputed territories are claimed by both the United States and other countries. This is the only case that I know of of a people from a territory claiming the area is part of the US when the US doesn't recognize it. While we do have a list of disputed territories in the article, they are all uninhabited, so Sikaiana{{}} would be inappropriate there. If we do add a separate disputed territories section, then perhaps Sikaiana could be added, but with reliable sources that support the content. - BilCat (talk) 21:13, 27 April 2018 (UTC)
@Outback the koala: Please stop re-adding this material until you have addressed the issues and built a consensus to restore this. - BilCat (talk) 23:23, 27 April 2018 (UTC)
Also, the content violates NPOV, and is evidently a Fringe viewpoint, and thus cannot remain in the article as long as it violates these policies. - BilCat (talk) 23:26, 27 April 2018 (UTC)

─────────────────────────See also Sikaiana#Hawaiian/American/Solomons sovereignty issue which (disclosure) I have just edited. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 00:37, 28 April 2018 (UTC)

I didn’t add this information, I just watched you remove it from the article because basically it does not fit the traditional narrative of a disputed territory that’s disputed by two parties. It does have citations associated with it in the section you have blanked. Obviously the content doesn’t agree with your POV, but I think as an encyclopedia, we should simply present the facts as supported by the references and let the reader draw conclusions from there.
I do, however, not at all accept your explanation that you can blank content that is citied, and break 3RR rules because “it was added 10 days ago”. I have never heard of such an interpretation ever. You don’t like this content, fine, but discuss it here instead of edit warring and blanking section which have references, acting as if you own the page. I will restore the content for now, I don’t feel strongly about it one way or the other, but I really don’t like to see an editor act like a bully. Outback the koala (talk) 00:51, 28 April 2018 (UTC)
The facts presented aren't in fact supported by the references, which is why I removed them. Restoring improperly cited material because "really don’t like to see an editor act like a bully" is just making a bad situation worse. You haven't actually dealt with any specific claims that the section makes, only claimed that because it's "citied" it can't be removed. As to 3RR, editors are allowed to remove content that expesses fringe views and makes claims not supported by the sources per WP:FRINGE, and that is what I did. In fact, by restoring improperly cited content, you have violated 3RR yourself. - BilCat (talk) 03:24, 28 April 2018 (UTC)
I just looked at the sources that Outback the koala provided (about Sikaiana), and the text about Sikaiana is found in one of the sources ( ). On page 39 of that document (page 41 of the PDF), the following is said:
"Some residents of the Stewart Islands in the Solomon Islands group, which is located northeast of Australia and east of Papua New Guinea, claim that they are native Hawaiians and U.S. citizens. (See figure 1.) They base their claim on the assertion that the Stewart Islands were ceded to King Kamehameha IV and accepted by him as part of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1856 and, thus, were part of the Republic of Hawaii (which was declared in 1893) when it was annexed to the United States by law in 1898. The 1898 law identifies the islands being annexed only as the “Hawaiian Islands and their dependencies.” However, the annexation was based on the report of the Hawaiian Commission which did not include the Stewart Islands among the islands it identified as part of the Republic of Hawaii. Report of the Hawaiian Commission, S. Doc. No. 16, 55th Cong., at 4 (3d Sess. 1898). In 1996, some Stewart Islands residents applied to register to vote in a plebescite limited to Native Hawaiians. Their requests for ballots, however, were rejected by the Hawaiian Sovereignty Election Council."
The above text is in the form of a footnote (within the document). The fact that residents of the Stewart Islands (also known as Sikaiana) believe that their land is a U.S. territory is a minor detail. It should be mentioned in the "Territories of the United States" article, but only as a footnote (similar to how it is only mentioned as a footnote in the official document). A main-text paragraph about would probably give it too much weight. LumaP15 (talk) 01:12, 7 September 2018 (UTC)


Palmyra Atoll, Jarvis Island, Midway Islands, Baker Island, Johnston Atoll, Navassa Island, Howland Island, Kingman Reef and Wake Island are listed as both Territories of the United States and as United States Minor Outlying Islands. Shouldn't they only be listed one of them?--Wyn.junior (talk) 23:15, 23 May 2018 (UTC)

Why? The terms aren't mutually exclusive. - BilCat (talk) 01:16, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
The article does not notate these terms being mutually exclusive.--Wyn.junior (talk) 22:51, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
Because they aren't mutually exclusive. - BilCat (talk) 05:11, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
They are territories and also minor outlying islands. --Golbez (talk) 23:11, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
Territories of the United States is a category that includes the smaller category Minor Outlying Islands. It's like rectangles and squares. All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. Similarly, the MOIs are all territories but not all US territories are MOIs. --Khajidha (talk) 01:51, 30 May 2018 (UTC)

Contradictions between sections[edit]

The Classification of former U.S. territories and administered areas section seems to differ with the Organized territories section in some cases. The example which caught my eye is the Philippines, which became a U.S, territory with the Treaty of Paris (1898) and was under U.S. military government before then but had no Organic Act until the Philippine Organic Act (1902) (see also Sovereignty of the Philippines#Peace protocol, U.S. military government, Treaty of Paris). I don't know about other territories. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 19:42, 3 March 2019 (UTC)